Typically, when January 1st comes around, the resolutions start amassing and as the month ticks by, regrets and guilt replace goals and ambitions. When trying to make drastic changes to your diet and lifestyle, it is best not to attempt too many changes all at once. Start small and gradually make simple dietary and lifestyle modifications over time. By taking "baby steps", you set yourself up to make permanent life-sustaining changes that will not leave you feeling remorseful when you "slip-up”. So do yourself a favor, don't fall into the overpriced detoxes, cleanses, or restrictive diets. Just clean up!
Take a look at a your eating habits and assess what you would like to change. Do you have one too many "fermented" beverages a little too regularly? Are you a breakfast skipper? Attached to heavy cream in your coffee? Are most of your meals store or restaurant bought? Or, do you never eat your greens? Not to worry, here are some tips to help you clean up for the New Year and be a much better and healthier you.
Limit the Alcohol:
Alcohol limits inhibition, which makes you eat more, adds calories, and impedes adequate absorption of nutrients. The recommendations for alcohol consumption are 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men. A drink is quantified as 12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounces of distilled spirit such as tequila, vodka, or gin. Drinking in excess frequently can lead to liver complications, high blood pressure, and cancer.
Don't Be a Skipper:
Running on coffee until noon or getting a morning high from a sugary pastry is not how to set yourself up for success. Start your day off right with a protein and complex carb -rich breakfast. Don't have time? No problem. Here are two recipes that allow you to make your brekky in advance so you can grab it on the go.
Cut the Calories from your Beverages:
Remove sugary juices and iced teas, chemical-laced sodas and energy drinks, and cut the creamer and sugar in your coffee. Beverages can add a lot of extra calories. Just because you are not chewing does not mean that you are not putting calories into your body.
Practice Meatless Monday:
Try to have a vegetable-focused day. Limiting animal protein from your diet reduces saturated fat intake, which helps lower cholesterol and cardiovascular-related conditions.
Remove Refined and Processed Foods from your Diet:
Processed and refined food are foods which have been taken from their natural state and altered in order to change their taste, texture, palatability and, most typically, to extend their shelf life. Examples of processed foods can range from something as simple as jarred tomato sauce and salad dressing to frozen dinners, deli meats, and potato chips. Through heavy processing, sodium, sugar, and fat are usually added, which have contributed to the plethora of diet-related medical conditions that have infiltrated our country.
When a grain is refined, its germ, bran, and endosperm are removed along with beneficial fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals. When looking at grains, unrefined would be a grain that is in its whole form. Examples include whole wheat bread and pasta, natural popcorn, steel cut oatmeal (not instant), quinoa, millet, and brown rice.
Pack your Lunch:
Whether it be your leftovers from the night before or a sandwich, packing your lunch will save you money, calories, and pounds.
Physical activity is an integral part of healthy living, weight loss, and overall prevention of a multitude of diseases. Find what you love and what motivates you. A healthy individual should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week with 2 or more days that include muscle strengthening. 150 minutes can be broken up into whatever type of interval works best for you.
If this list seems overwhelming, do not fret. Take one component at a time and focus on slowly and realistically cleaning up your diet. Select one goal a week or even one a month and work toward integrating the goal seamlessly into your life until it becomes routine. Once you accomplished one goal, move on to the next.
Have a Happy and a Healthy New Year!